Monday, September 15, 2008

Immigrants Fight Restrictions at Home

There's punishment without crime for some noncitizens facing immigration troubles, advocates say.

By Gabriela Reardon, City Limits Weekly
September 8, 2008

Natalia Puriy's appearance at an immigration court in Florida in January 2006 began like many that she and her husband, James Turner, had attended previously. The judge once again admonished the government attorney to obtain the necessary paperwork so he could rule on Puriy's petition for political asylum, and then adjourned the hearing for another six months.

But after the hearing, as the couple entered the building's elevator, two immigration agents followed. Turner recalls that one agent shoved him aside and asked his wife if she was Natalia. When she said she was, he proceeded to detain the 48-year-old Ukrainian immigrant without explanation. That wasn't what Puriy, a teacher, was expecting when she applied for America's protection following a wave of killings in her native Ukraine that targeted outspoken anti-communist teachers, leading her to fear for her life.

"I asked him who he was and what he was doing, and he said they were retaining all people coming in. When I demanded his name, he slammed his badge in my face and told me to shut up and get out of his way," Turner, a U.S. citizen, said in a recent interview. [...]

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